PhD candidate in Educational Neuroscience, within the GUTS consortium

PhD candidate in Educational Neuroscience, within the GUTS consortium

Published Deadline Location
22 May 12 Jun Amsterdam
What are the optimal conditions for youth to grow up successfully? Are you interested in investigating this question? Join the Growing Up Together in Society (GUTS) consortium as a PhD student and learn to do cutting edge research on adolescent behavio...

Job description

Your PhD project is part of the GUTS project, a collaboration among seven Dutch universities to find answers to the question of how young people grow up successfully. This PhD project is part of the Amsterdam team, which has the unique aim to include 600 young participants (ages 10-22-years) from a diverse background in one study including brain imaging using (f)MRI and EEG, measures of self-report, smart phone app questionnaires and behavioural testing. While the GUTS project is a longitudinal study spanning 10 years, your PhD project involves working on the project during the initial measurement waves. As a PhD student you will work as part of a team of other PhD students and postdocs. You will receive training in various methods and go in-depth on your personal research topic. In addition, the GUTS project offers opportunities to develop yourself in terms of interdisciplinary research, societal impact, outreach, and open science.

This 4-year PhD position in Educational Neuroscience aims to examine the role and importance of adolescents' positive risk-taking development in the school context. Research on heightened adolescent risk-taking often focuses on negative consequences, but exploration and taking risks also serves an important developmental purpose. In this PhD project, you will investigate whether and how adolescents are supported or hampered by their parents and society more generally in their positive risk-taking, and how this impacts their development of self-regulation in the school context, including resilience to academic setbacks. You will study different aspects of positive risk-taking using a combination of self-report measures and behavioral experiments, as well as neuroimaging methods (EEG and/or fMRI). Furthermore, the project includes a daily diary study with the possibility to measure physiology using wearables, to track day-to-day variation in perceived parental pressure/support and self-regulation. After concluding this PhD, you will have expertise in multiple methods, and how to combine them, within the field of educational neuroscience.

Your duties
You will be supervised by Prof. dr. Nienke van Atteveldt, dr. Tieme Janssen and Prof. dr. Hilde Huizenga. In addition to research activities (90%) your work will also include teaching tasks (10%), such as the supervision of bachelor's and master's theses and tutor groups for courses related to psychology and neuroimaging.

If you are passionate about research at the intersection of developmental/cognitive psychology, educational science and neuroimaging to address societally relevant questions, then we encourage you to apply for this exciting position and opportunity to be part of the GUTS consortium. You will have the chance to develop your research skills, work with a dynamic team, and make a valuable contribution to the field of educational neuroscience.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • A completed or upcoming (research) master's degree in psychology or (developmental) cognitive neuroscience, or a related field;
  • Programming experience (Matlab, or Python, or R);
  • Advanced statistical skills, with experience analyzing EEG, fMRI, physiological or daily diary/ESM data being a plus;
  • Proficiency in Dutch, as you will be interacting frequently with youth;
  • Academic English in speaking and writing;
  • Excellent social, communication and organizational skills to work both independently and in a team to collect a large dataset in the consortium;
  • The ability to connect with youth from diverse backgrounds.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,541 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,247 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.9 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for an additional duration of 3 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus,
  • discount on (and occasionally exclusiveaccess to) theater performances and courses at the Griffi oen Cultural Center,
  • a wide range ofsports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge,
  • contribution to commutingexpenses,
  • hybrid working enables a good work-life balance


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor - from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences focuses on the broad domain of behaviour and health. Our teaching and research programmes are devoted to current developments in society, from healthy aging to e-health, from juvenile crime to dealing with depression, from training for top athletes to social media as a teaching tool. We are unique in that we combine three academic disciplines: psychology, movement sciences and education.

Working at Behavioural and Movement Sciences means working in an ambitious organization that is characterized by an informal atmosphere and short lines of communication. Our faculty offers tremendous scope for personal development. We employ more than 600 staff members, and we are home to around 3,400 students.

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 12/06/2023. The job interviews are planned for June 26, when possible please take them into account when applying for the position.

Submitting a diploma and a reference check are part of the application process. Please add the names of two referees. Referees will becontacted directly in case of shortlisting.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Tieme Janssen
Position: Assistant professor

No agencies


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 34.2—38 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 15412


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 12 Jun 2023 22:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).